‘Yes’ to one drug could become ‘yes’ for other drugs

High school seniors who frown upon the use of drugs are most likely to be female, nonsmokers or hold strong religious beliefs, according to a new study. The work examines how teenagers’ attitudes

Read the original article at Spirituality News -- ScienceDaily  2013-10-09 »

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Madonna Practicing Islam? Singer Reveals She’s Studying Muslim Holy Text

Madonna made waves in the mid-1990s when she began studying the Kabbalah, a Jewish esoteric tradition that draws from the mystical and prophetic visions described throughout the Torah. Now she’s causing uproar with the news that she’s begun studying th…

Read the original article at Religion News on The Huffington Post  2013-10-09 »

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The Manetto’s Day Has Come

The other day on Twitter I mused that Vatican III will probably mandate special head-coverings for those with luxuriant sideburns, like, say, Bl. Martin Sheen in my new favorite movie of all time, Catholics. Who could concentrate on the Holy Sacrifice with such manly plentitude on display? I imagined the man-mantilla as a babushka scarf […]

Read the original article at Killing the Buddha  2013-10-09 »

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Over the Rainbow

Gay Argentinians’ views on marriage, legal or not, are still shaped by forces beyond their control.

Read the original article at Killing the Buddha  2013-10-09 »

Posted in activism, Argentina, Catholicism, dispatch, homophobia, Homosexuality, Jehovah's Witnesses, Judaism, Pope Francis, Religion, Spirituality| Tagged | Comments closed

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass (PHOTOS)

Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.

Read whole story on The Express Tribune here

men holding up hands

one nation one blood

women holding hands

men hands 2

women 2


Read the original article at Religion News on The Huffington Post  2013-10-09 »

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‘Gravity’ Film Philosophizes About Existence For The ‘Nones’

(RNS) Reviews of the new hit movie “Gravity” note that it’s an unusually fine science fiction film. What they don’t mention is that the main character represents an increasingly common theme in American religion: The spiritual “none of the above.”

Yes, the special effects are splendid. And I’ll take the word of astronauts who say the visuals capture amazingly well what it’s like to work in the microgravity of near-Earth orbit.

But there are moments where spiritual and philosophical themes take center stage.

(Spoiler alert: I’ll give no more away than I’ve seen in most reviews, but if you really want to know nothing about the movie, see it first.)

There’s precious little dialogue in this relatively short film that is devoted to anything but technical details. So it’s perhaps a bit surprising that a significant chunk of it is about faith — or the lack thereof. Dr. Ryan Stone, a researcher-turned-newbie astronaut played by Sandra Bullock, is eventually alone and probably facing imminent death, stuck in a damaged tin can zipping through shrapnel-loaded airless space.

So she starts a monologue. “No one will mourn for me,” she muses. “No one will pray for my soul. … I’ve never prayed. … Nobody has taught me how. …”

But she sort of prays through action. (Stone is one “Right Stuff” space jockey once the early panic wears off.) And then she sort of gives up. And in a way, the answer to her prayers shows up in the person of the experienced astronaut played by George Clooney. Sort of.

(As a friend of mine told me: “I mean, he’s my answered prayer, but seriously?”)

Central questions of existence are raised: “What’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living?”

Why, indeed? Stone, we’ve learned, has been emotionally adrift since her 4-year-old daughter died in an accidental fall. But somehow, somewhere, she comes up with an answer that she doesn’t monologue to those existential questions. She does talk about her daughter as an angel and asks the spirit of one of the characters who hadn’t made it to give the kid’s spirit a hug.

And when she finally ends up safely (we assume) on a beach on a lake somewhere on Earth, she grabs a handful of sand and murmurs “Thank you.”

But who is she talking to?

And that takes us to the “nones,” the religiously unaffiliated who make up one in five Americans these days. If they’d all sign up on a list, only the Catholic Church could claim more members in the U.S. The whole point of being unaffiliated, of course, is that they don’t want to sign on to any constraints. When asked to identify their faith on a list, they’ll choose “none of the above.”

But there’s pretty good survey evidence that most of the nones, like Sandra Bullock’s Dr. Ryan, aren’t “nothings.” Some embrace the title “spiritual but not religious,” and even some who say they’re atheists retain some religion-ish trappings.

A 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life report found that about half the unaffiliated surveyed said they believed in some kind of life after death — including 18 percent of the atheists and 35 percent of agnostics. About 40 percent of the unaffiliated believe in heaven — including 12 percent of the atheists and 18 percent of agnostics. And on the big kahuna question, only 30 percent of the unaffiliated said they were pretty sure there was no God.

As for prayer, the issue raised by the fictional Dr. Stone? Almost half the unaffiliated said they pray at least occasionally. And while this survey didn’t probe it, I’ll bet the likelihood of interest in prayer goes up when confronted with imminent death.

The few details we get about Bullock’s character don’t suggest an open hostility toward religion. Just a lack of contact — and a personal tragedy of the sort that pushes even some of the devout into doubt.

So where does she find the spiritual strength and internal fortitude to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds? Maybe the same place that so many other Americans are looking these days: To overcome her peril in the sky above, Dr. Stone turned to “none of the above.”

(Jeffrey Weiss can be reached at Jeff.Weiss@religionnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @WeissFaithWrite)

Read the original article at Religion News on The Huffington Post  2013-10-09 »

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Dieter Uchtdorf, Mormon Leader, Says Church Has ‘Made Mistakes’ And There Is Room For All In LDS Faith

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) It is wrong to assume that Mormons who leave the faith “have been offended or lazy or sinful,” a top leader told members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday (Oct. 5) during the church’s 183rd Semiannual General Conference.

“It is not that simple,” said Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS Church’s governing three-man First Presidency.

Some struggle with “unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past,” Uchtdorf explained. “We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of church history — along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable and divine events — there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.”

“To be perfectly frank,” Uchtdorf said, “there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.”

God is perfect and his doctrine is pure, he said, but human beings — including church leaders — are not.

The German-born Uchtdorf, dubbed by several Mormon commenters as “our Pope Francis,” urged those who have left the LDS faith to come back, even with their doubts.

“It’s natural to have questions — the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding,” he said. “There are few members of the church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions.”

Regardless of one’s circumstances, personal history or strength of faith, he said, “there is room for you in this church.”

Read the original article at Religion News on The Huffington Post  2013-10-09 »

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Navy Chaplains Get Sex Abuse Training In Order To Combat Rising Problem

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Kristen Leslie began her 2003 book, “When Violence Is No Stranger,” with a verse from Psalms, a nod to her training as a theologian.

“It is not enemies who taunt me — I could bear that; it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me — I could hide from them. But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend…”

The book’s subject was acquaintance rape, and it got the attention of a chaplain at the Air Force Academy. The school was then reeling from a Pentagon report indicating that 7 percent of its cadets reported being the victims of rape or attempted rape. Nearly 90 percent of the perpetrators were their own classmates.

Leslie, now a professor of pastoral theology and care at Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo., was invited to Colorado to consult with academy leaders on how to train Air Force chaplains to deal with sexualized violence on campus.

Now, a decade later, the U.S. Navy has come knocking.

In September, the Navy announced that it had contracted with Leslie and another expert to conduct training sessions next year with its chaplains. The Navy hopes chaplains can help address a crisis in underreporting of sexual abuse by military personnel.

“Chaplains have been trained so far in the legal issues surrounding sexual assault, but that’s not their primary focus,” Leslie said.

In June, the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services on proposals to combat sexual assault in the military; last month, the Pentagon introduced regulations that it says will help prevent sexual assault and better prosecute the crime when it happens.

A little more than a week later, a high-profile hearing began looking into allegations that three Naval Academy football players sexually assaulted a female midshipman last year.

In its 2012 report on sexual assault in the military, the U.S. Department of Defense cited 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact, up from 19,000 in 2010. The same report said only 3,000 service members who were victims of sexual assault reported the incident to military authorities.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the results of the report suggest behavior that “is just not acceptable.”

“We will get control of this,” he said.

Each year, Navy chaplains receive professional development training around a specific issue. Navy chaplain Lt. Cmdr. David Thames, deputy executive assistant to the chief of Navy chaplains, helped coordinate next year’s focus on sexual assault.

In an email, Thames said that although chaplains already receive training in sexual assault reporting procedures, Leslie’s training will represent “the first time the chaplain corps has focused on specialized pastoral care training for chaplains caring for sexual assault victims.”

Leslie will conduct the training with Marie Fortune, founder of the FaithTrust Institute in Seattle. They will travel to eight naval locations in the United States and to locations in Naples, Italy, and Okinawa, Japan, to take part in the three-day professional development course.

A major focus of Leslie’s training will be around the subject of confidentiality. Reasons military members don’t report sexual assault range from fear of reprisals to fear of creating more work for their colleagues.

A 2011 Air Force survey found that nearly 50 percent of women who were raped didn’t want their superiors to know. Nearly 50 percent also said they didn’t report the assault because they didn’t want to cause trouble in their unit.

Chaplains are considered outside the chain of command and are bound by confidentiality. Because chaplains are officers, though, young, inexperienced service members often see them simply as superiors.

The Navy points out that confidentiality — which it calls a “sacred trust” — has been standard practice for its chaplain corps since 1775. But to reinforce the practice, it made chaplain confidentiality official policy in 2008.

And yet according to a recent poll on the Navy Personnel Command’s website, 63 percent of Navy personnel did not believe that what they tell a chaplain is considered confidential, and 65 percent said they thought chaplains were required to report certain matters to the command.

Two members of the Armed Services Committee — Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. — have been pushing legislation to reform the legal aspects of prosecuting military sexual assault.

McCaskill said that while her focus has been justice for victims, “chaplain training is essential.”

“The fact that the Navy is doing this is a positive sign that the military is taking this seriously,” she said.

The Rev. Cynthia Ramirez Lindenmeyer, a former Army chaplain who is a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Advisory Committee on Women and the Services, said chaplains represent part of the solution to the problem, but a lot of work remains to be done.

“Most military chaplains are coming into the military from seminaries that don’t do much training in that area,” Lindenmeyer said. “So this kind of pastoral training the Navy is starting is a good move.”

Military chaplains are endorsed by hundreds of faith traditions, many of which have conflicting views on what Lindenmeyer — a United Church of Christ pastor — calls “the rape-myth culture.”

“Chaplains need to learn more about the culture that is predominant in fundamentalist Christian churches that blames a woman for drinking when she was attacked, or dressed provocatively or out with 10 guys,” she said. “When some chaplains blame the woman, that hurts the victim even more.”

Read the original article at Religion News on The Huffington Post  2013-10-09 »

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China Cracks Down On ‘Jihad’ Talk Online

BEIJING (Reuters) – Police in China’s Xinjiang region are cracking down on people who promote jihad online, state media reported on Tuesday, amid a nationwide campaign against internet rumors that activists say is a blow to freedom of speech. …

Read the original article at Religion News on The Huffington Post  2013-10-08 »

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Dahn Yoga Encourages Everyone to Feel Good with Its “Learn Korean”…

Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc., a national leader in health and wellness, continues their special “Learn Korean” segment with tips on the true meaning behind a word or phrase that adds to…

(PRWeb September 30, 2013)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/dahn-yoga-news/learn-korean-09-13/prweb11158405.htm

Read the original article at Society: Spirituality  2013-10-08 »

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Maum Meditation Founder and Amazon Bestselling Author is Recipient of…

Amazon Bestselling Author Woo Myung is the Winner of Numerous Awards in 2013(PRWeb September 30, 2013)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11182049.htm

Read the original article at Society: Spirituality  2013-10-08 »

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Wisdom’s Books Revamps Website Featuring Award Winning Books by…

Wisdom’s Books provides books of wisdom for everyday living.

(PRWeb September 30, 2013)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11179994.htm

Read the original article at Society: Spirituality  2013-10-08 »

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Leading Children’s Musician Bobby Susser Joins Grammy Award-Winning…

International artists John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson, UK), Japanese progressive group Electric Asturias, and many more come together with luminaries like world-renowned author/researcher Colin…(PRWeb September 30, 2013)Read the full story at http…

Read the original article at Society: Spirituality  2013-10-08 »

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Danny Wright Releases New Solo Piano Lullaby Album, Donates Signed…

Renowned pianist Danny Wright announces upcoming concerts in Texas and Las Vegas, and launches gentle lullaby album of soothing sounds for all ages. The acclaimed Steinway artist has contributed free…(PRWeb September 30, 2013)Read the full story a…

Read the original article at Society: Spirituality  2013-10-08 »

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Award-Winning Novelist Kuwana Haulsey Reveals Her Reading and Writing…

Kuwana Haulsey, author of the newly released Everything I Needed to Know I Learned From My Six-Month-Old, was featured on Shelf Awareness.(PRWeb September 30, 2013)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11173896.htm

Read the original article at Society: Spirituality  2013-10-08 »

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